By Linda Dillman
The U.S. Route 33 corridor could grow by another pair of warehouses with the latest in pre-annexation requests for former farm land in Madison Township to be added to Canal Winchester.
One ordinance proposes an annexation agreement for 82.86 acres at the intersection of U.S. 33 and Bixby Road and another asks for approval of an economic development agreement for the same acreage for Stotan Industrial’s proposed Winchester Logistic Park.
During a Sept. 20 Canal Winchester City Council work session, Development Director Lucas Haire said the requests are similar to two recently approved for a NorthPoint project on nearby land owned by the Schacht family.
“It is adjacent to both the city of Canal Winchester and the city of Columbus,” said Haire.
One proposed structure is 620,000 square feet with primary access to Bixby Road and the second is 312,00 square feet with frontage along Winchester Pike. Developers are planning to request rezoning to limited manufacturing along with asking for a tax abatement.
The pair of requests were forwarded to full council for further consideration.
Angie Halstead, of the citizens’ group, CW For Smart Growth, believes this current land request for annexation and rezoning is an example of the “flood gates being opened to big developers who do not care about our future, safety/well-being, or heritage of our town.”
Halstead said there are three pieces of land with six new warehouses proposed totaling more than 2.5 million square feet of warehouse space over 211 acres.
“That’s 211 acres of farm land and wetlands destroyed,” said Halstead.
Members of CW For Smart Growth question why city officials are primarily seeking warehousing development.
“Our infrastructure simply cannot support these warehouses and the safety hazards are unimaginable,” said Halstead. “There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest this project would bring a positive benefit to CW residents and business owners. On the contrary, there is a growing body of evidence of traffic congestion, and accidents that will continue to increase.”
She believes businesses in the U.S. Route 33/Gender Road corridor will suffer as residents continue to seek less congested shopping areas.
“Also, the empty promises of jobs are offset by automation being the future of warehouses,” said Halstead, who added that the current lack of a development plan is “alarming.”
“The city has stated they will conduct a study, but it will take 12 to 18 months to complete,” said Halstead. “The city has also promised public involvement, but no new information has been communicated since the Aug. 30 town meeting. This haphazard development is an absolute determent to our community and our way of life, and we will continue to fight to save our town.”
Managing editor Rick Palsgrove contributed to this article.